By Linda Hamilton
Deseret Morning News
WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah – Utah Grizzlies defenseman Andy Sertich planned on being a Penguin this hockey season.
But mid-August came and went with no offer from a Pittsburgh team that had changed management since it drafted Sertich in the fifth round of the 2002 Entry Draft.
“It was frustrating all summer,” said Sertich of Pittsburgh’s silence.
Suddenly, he needed a place to play his first professional season.
His agent knew Utah Grizzlies coach Jason Christie, and they struck a deal for the youngster, who has an NCAA championship ring from his four years at the University of Minnesota. Sertich went through Utah’s fall camp and was in Utah’s lineup as a left wing on opening night, Oct. 30, in Phoenix.
He didn’t last long as a Grizz forward.
Utah suffered an injury and ejection on the blue line in the opener, and the versatile Sertich ended up playing defense.
“I’ve played there ever since,” he said.
Christie asked him if he was comfortable there, and it was fine with Sertich, who had been a defender until he got to high school and played most of the next eight years on the wing. He played a few games for Minnesota on defense.
“I love playing defense,” he said, adding he was mostly a defensive forward in college, where he played with eight or nine high NHL draft choices.
Playing early this season with veteran defender Ed Campbell, Sertich relearned the position quickly enough that he was the only Grizzly playing in last month’s ECHL All-Star Game in Boise.
“It’s all about body position,” Sertich said. “I learned from him.
“The first few games, I was hesitant. I didn’t want to make mistakes.”